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Story Highlights

  • Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) in charge of St. James, Steve McGregor, is expressing confidence of a major turnaround in crime in the parish.
  • He said a number of strategies have been implemented to achieve significant and sustained reduction in serious and violent crimes, including murders.
  • St. James has recorded 101 murders since the start of the year, which is the highest number of murders of the 14 parishes.

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) in charge of St. James, Steve McGregor, is expressing confidence of a major turnaround in crime in the parish.

He said a number of strategies have been implemented to achieve significant and sustained reduction in serious and violent crimes, including murders.

St. James has recorded 101 murders since the start of the year, which is the highest number of murders of the 14 parishes.

“Turning around the parish from this will not be an overnight situation … this is going to be strategic and I am optimistic that we are on the right road to getting there.  I therefore promise you that somewhere closer towards the end of the year, you will all see the strategies we are employing setting in,” SSP McGregor said.

He was addressing the official launch of the Champions for Change Club at the Anchovy High School on June 29 under the theme: ‘Reducing Youth on Youth Violence for a Better Jamaica’.

Anchovy High is one of seven secondary schools in St. James selected as pilots for the Jamaica leg of the  Caribbean Community (CARICOM)/Spain Citizen Security project. It is aimed at reducing violence in schools and communities in five CARICOM member states.

SSP McGregor hailed the programme, noting that it will serve to bring about positive behaviour change among the youth, so as to prevent them from engaging in criminal activities.

He noted that young people are responsible for over 80 per cent of the murders committed in the country “and I believe that if in a consistent, genuine and honest way, you can influence the attitudes of youths and people in general, then you can change their behaviour.”

He is therefore urging parents, guardians and teachers to be more observant of the behaviour of young people and “tap into their space,” in order to effectively influence their attitudes and change their behaviour patterns.

“If we are not successful in doing this, we will lose our children to gangs and crime and our country will be gone!” he pointed out.

The Citizen Security project is aimed at reducing violence in schools and communities in five CARICOM member states.

It will support and reinforce positive character development and social skills in at-risk students. This will be done in tandem with the Ministry of Education.

Other components include entrepreneurial training by developing Creativity for Employment and Business Opportunity (CEBO), and after school sports and other extra-curricular programmes.

Approximately US$500,000 has been allocated to pilot the project in Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago.